MEB Managing Editor Alexa Rahmanparast recently caught up with sibling duo Jocelyn and Chris Arndt Band at the Florida Music Festival and chatted about their first visit to Florida, their recent album release Edges, and upcoming music videos.
MEB: Hey guys, what are you looking forward to the most about playing FMF?
Chris: Oh man, well it’s our first time in Florida.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we’ve never been here before!
C: So…that’s pretty cool.
J: Yeah, I love the palm trees in just random places. Where we’re from there are pine trees, so it’s a little different. But the place is awesome, Cheyenne Saloon is great. I think the stage is going to be really awesome.
Are you going to try to make your way over to any of the theme parks while you’re here?
J: Yes! We’re going to Universal tomorrow. I’ve never been; I’m such a Harry Potter dork, so I’m like super excited!
You’ve been playing a number of pretty big festivals lately like SXSW. How has that experience been?
C: It’s been pretty awesome! I mean like, I love playing any show, like just playing is our favorite thing to do. Bar shows and little shows, they’re all really fun, but festivals, they’re kind of like in a different genre of show just because everything there is just centered around the art, so it’s all just bands and people that are there to see music rather than, you know, people that are there to eat dinner or something. It’s just a really different dynamic, which is a lot of fun.
J: It’s definitely more artist-centered.
Is there a specific festival or venue that you guys would consider “the ultimate dream?”
J: Ooh that we haven’t played yet?
C: Aw man…
J: So I think like, I dunno, like the Newport Folk and Jazz Festival. Which I know in like past years it was really just folk and jazz, but now I think The Alabama Shakes were there.
C: Yeah, that would be really cool. Bob Dylan went electric there!
J: All right, so that would be sweet! Newport is great. Honestly, just anywhere that is a huge event would be awesome. We’ve done Mountain Jam, and I’d love to go back to that one because it was awesome.
You guys dropped an album in February named Edges. How do you feel it has been received?
J: Everyone has been really nice.
C: (laughs) Yeah!
J: I mean, it was kind of like our baby and we’re really proud of it. We’ve been working on it for over a year, recording at least, and then some of the songs we wrote while we were in high school, so it’s kind of like “here’s like our life so far. What do you guys think? Fingers crossed!” But everyone has been super supportive and positive and had all sorts of nice things to say about it.
C: Yeah, it’s been nice!
Jocelyn, you have mentioned that the song “Shame” is a revenge song following a bad breakup. Has the guy in question tried contacting you since?
J: No! You know, I feel like I’m a little dramatic and I might have made it all up to be this huge thing and he’s probably like clueless, but he should know he did me wrong!
You’ve mentioned that you have a few music videos in the works. Do you have release dates for any of them yet?
J: No release dates yet, but I can say very soon!
Can we expect to see performance-type videos or a more story-based theme?
C: I think there’s going to be a little bit of both. There’s definitely a pretty heavily, you know like Director, DP, all the works story video coming out, but there’s also going to be a lot of like live performance videos, and a couple of cool lyric videos, too. So hopefully we’ll run the gamut.
Do you all have a favorite song to perform from the album?
J: Oooh, like I said they’re all our babies, so it’s like different edges of us (laughs), but my personal favorite is probably, well I really like playing “Jagged” live and “Where’s the Rain?” I think “Jagged” is really fun to play live because Chris gets to go all out with the wob pedal and it’s really cool.
C: (laughs) The wob pedal is fun. Like when we’re not playing any of the songs, my inclination is to say that “Jagged” just because I like using the wob, but when we’re playing every song I’m like “Man, I forgot how much I like to play this song.” So it’s really hard to pick a favorite one.
You guys have noted that you’re heavily influenced by the 70’s and 80’s music scenes. Prince was a major player in those scenes, do you feel that he was one of your influencers?
J: I would say he was probably more of an influence on Chris than on me because he was an amazing guitarist.
C: I feel like he was one of the most underrated guitarists of all time. Everyone knows him as like Prince, his persona, but he was an absolutely amazing guitarist, and also I mean if you also just google Prince and look at his wikipedia page, how many songs he’s written for other people. Even if you’re not a fan of like Prince’s Prince music, I mean you would be amazed. I think it’s in the thousands.
J: He came out with like 30-something studio albums.
C: Yeah, so he was like remarkable. I think he definitely changed the face of the music industry.
Well like I think it was Eric Clapton who was once asked what it was like to be the greatest guitarist in the world and he said something along the lines of “I don’t know, ask Prince.”
J: Yeah, I mean I think the “Purple Rain” solo was only one take live.
C: When they were filming the movie I’m pretty sure one of the people he used to play with told me this when we were on tour once, so apparently Prince just went in and they were like shooting the scene that had “Purple Rain” in it and he just like walked in, and that guitar solo is just one take.
J: Yeah, that kind of talent is just not something you see every day.
How do you feel his recent death has impacted the industry?
J: It’s sad.
C: Yeah, it’s been a sad year!
Yeah, we’ve lost a lot of greats!
J: First Bowie, then Prince.
C: David Bowie and Prince are like two of the biggest names in glam rock. Someone is going to have to pick up the mantle.
J: Yeah, there’s like a big hole there now. It’s sad.
C: Yeah, it really is sad, I mean anything death is sad, but it sucks.
I’m curious, as a sibling duo, how did you two ultimately decide upon the order of how your names would be placed for your band name?
J: Oooh Jocelyn and Chris versus Chris and Jocelyn, right? Well I’m the oldest, so I guess eldest first.
C: Jocelyn and Chris does definitely roll off the tongue a little better.
J: Yeah, that’s probably it. That’s fair. I think we’d be okay with it either way.
C: Yeah, I mean I just like to play music (laughs).
It must be really fun having going on tour with your sibling, but I’m sure it can get a bit crazy. Do you guys have any fun stories of your sibling shenanigans on tour?
J: Oh my goodness today I was trying to take a nap in the car– so we don’t have a bus this time, we have a suburban– and our producer David, who is also our drummer and our manager, and his wife Anna, who is also our manager, are in front driving and I’m sleeping in the back in this awkward like fetal position.
C: She’s managing to take up like 90% of the seat by the way. She’s five feet tall, but…
J: And Chris is doing like some crazy coding schoolwork because he has homework to do and he like found a pen cap and decided it would be cool to like blow into it and it made this really awful sound (laughs).
C: I just like put it in my mouth and started breathing, it wasn’t intentional.
J: It was this awful whistle sound and it totally woke me up.
C: And then she said “why are you the worst person ever?” (laughs)
J: I was so out of it. I like woke up and we were in a completely different state.
C: It was pretty piercing actually, like I annoyed myself, which doesn’t usually happen, so…
J: Little stuff like that. We forgive each other, though. *looks at Chris* Just don’t do it again!
What’s up next in the worlds of Jocelyn and Chris?
J: We’re touring, we’re going to play as much as possible, we’re pushing our album to radio right now, so we just got another radio report today and it’s up to like 60-something college stations around the country.
C: Yeah, it’s going pretty well. We’re psyched about that!
J: Yeah, so we’ll be promoting that more in July…
C: Yeah, May and June, and then in July we are probably doing shows mostly around Upstate New York because that’s where we’re from, and also we’re going to be recording another album, which is nice. And then I think in August the current plan is to go on like a three week national tour, which should be really cool.
Going to make it back to Florida?
C: I mean three weeks is a lot of time.
Thank you for spending some time with us at Mind Equals Blown. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
C: It’s on the interwebs. Yeah, but thank you so much!